Monday, May 20, 2024

Italians buy an entire village in their country..now what happens to it?

Date:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — Owning an abandoned home in the country has become increasingly popular in recent years, with a growing number of Italian cities offering abandoned homes for sale at bargain prices.

But a group of Italians from San Severino di Centola, an abandoned village in the Italian region of Campania, decided to buy an entire small village.

In 2008, Silverio D’Angelo joined a group of eight people living across Italy to buy all the neglected houses in the medieval area, largely abandoned since the last residents left in the 1970s.

A strong connection

A group of Italians decided to buy a small village.
Credit: Fabio di Bitonto

DeAngelo, a retired banker, began persuading the heirs of the previous owners, among others, to sell their homes after he became concerned that the ghost village would fall prey to investors looking to radically change its structure.

“We were motivated by our deep love for this place and our passion for our roots and our ancestors. The hearts are here, but (buying the village) was a reckless move because we needed a lot of patience,” said D’Angelo, who was born in the new part of the village.

The village of San Severino de Centola was abandoned in the 1970s.
Credit: Silverio D’Angelo

About 350 people live in the new section of the village of San Severino di Cintola, about a 15-minute walk from the abandoned area.

With the group, D’Angelo bought about 60 ancient stone dwellings, he said.

The group has no grand plans to turn the village, surrounded by hills, forests and streams, into a luxury resort or vacation spot, but wants to preserve its original charm by breathing new life into its decaying houses and landmarks.

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“It saddens me to see the village torn down and forgotten,” DeAngelo told CNN. “We want to make it completely accessible and safe for visitors.”

Village Guards

The village is located south of Naples.
Credit: Fabio di Bitonto

San Severino di Centola is one of 6,000 abandoned ghost villages across Italy, left behind by natural disasters or depopulation.

Italians refer to her as the “Sleeping Beauty” and many think they are waiting to “wake her up” or bring her back to life.

It was a crazy adventure, said PR consultant Monica Gillucci, daughter of a resident of San Severino di Cintola and another of the village’s “saviors”.

The group has bought around 60 old flats.Credit: Monica Kilocchi

And many return to the village to learn about their origins and imagine what life was like for their parents or grandparents in the past, he told CNN.

D’Angelo and the team had been unsuccessful in dealing with the village for years, the Italians suggested, mainly due to a lack of resources and bureaucratic problems.

Save the past

A village surrounded by hills and forests.
Credit: Fabio di Bitonto

Tours of the area provided by local guides include visiting the ruins of a cathedral, a church, a watchtower and an aristocratic palace once owned by a high-ranking figure.

The village attracts about 50,000 visitors a year.
Credit: Monica Kilocchi

Once the necessary funding is in place, D’Angelo hopes to transform the village in a way that is sustainable and highlights its uniqueness.

“It is the duty of all of us to save places like this from abandonment,” Gilucci said, adding that “these ancient villages are the backbone of our wonderful country.”

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Bill Dittman
Bill Dittman
"Freelance alcohol fan. Coffee maven. Musicaholic. Food junkie. Extreme web expert. Communicator."

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